I WILL be well prepared to thrive in high school
MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM AT MSD
(ages eleven through fourteen, grades six through eight)
The MSD Middle School is thoughtfully designed to meet the developmental needs of students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. It is a continuum of the MSD school philosophy that is rooted in Montessori philosophy with an eye toward best practices. We foster intellectual curiosity through lessons that are relevant, diverse, authentic to real-world experience, and guided toward student ambitions and passions. Students’ social-emotional needs are also at the forefront of our program and are well cared for throughout the Middle School experience.
What makes our Middle School so un-middle-school-ish?
- It’s engaging and experiential. We have designed every facet of our curriculum to be challenging, collaborative, reflective, and student-centered.
- It’s rigorous in all the right ways. Our strong, core academics are highly integrated with other subject matter areas including the arts and sports – keeping middle-school brains (and attention spans) fully engaged.
- It’s so much bigger than just us. We put global education at the forefront and constantly find ways to inspire this age group to be prepared and excited about doing amazing things in the community and beyond.
- We understand middle school students’ unique needs. Kids in these grades are full of enthusiasm and energy, and they’re also coping with a world of changes in themselves, their peers and their studies. We put a smart, compassionate emphasis on social-emotional growth and help support these fantastic kids every step of the way. Click here to read more about "Social Emotional Support During the Middle School Years."
- The community is also our classroom. Our students take part in innovative projects, and real-life opportunities beyond our campus walls.
- We are anything but “standard” but we absolutely exceed “standardized” requirements. Our middle school includes a dynamic, experiential, solid core curriculum benchmarked against state and independent Montessori school standards. We are committed to making sure our students master these standards and have the tools necessary for success in high school, college and beyond. We are constantly looking at the best schools nationally and locally to determine how we implement best practices in our middle school curriculum.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
Dr. Montessori defined four stages of development and labeled them as the Four Planes of Development, noting that within these stages, the development is intense at the beginning, consolidates and then tapers to the next. Middle School students are starting the Third Plane of Development that lasts from ages 12-18 years and is a plane of intense creation focused on the Creation of the Social Self. Other characteristics of this developmental period include:
- Critical thinking and re-evaluation
- Transition both physically and mentally
- Beginning to try to find a place in this world
- Construction of social and moral values
- Solidified cultural development
- Emotional independence – “I can stand on my own”
- Self-concern and self-assessment
The MSD middle school curriculum is designed to meet the developmental needs of the adolescent, including physical, emotional, social, and cognitive needs and is benchmarked against state and independent school academic standards and The goal is valorization of the student, that is, helping the adolescent become a strong and capable person. This is accomplished when adolescents have appropriate responsibilities and expectations, are able to experience the joy that comes from successfully meeting challenges, and have the resilience that results from learning from poor decisions. The student outcome strived for is joy, selflessness, optimism, confidence, dignity, self-discipline, initiative, independence, helpfulness, good judgment, and ability to work with others.
The curriculum in the middle school is organized around broad themes that are designed to serve as points of integration of the curriculum. In some areas, notably history and science, students will study the same content area, in multi-age groupings that rotates over a three-year period, however, the follow-up lessons will be appropriately designed to match the students’ developmental levels and provide opportunities for a student to pursue a personal interest through further research and investigation.
Core studies include mathematics, geometry, introduction to algebra, exposure to different genres of writing, literature, grammar, science and stewardship, health, and social studies.
Seventh and Eighth grades
Core studies include Algebra I, intro to Trigonometry, research and technology, ecology, physical science, chemistry, biology, social studies and language arts.
Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grades
In addition to academic content areas, the Middle School curriculum includes:
- Specials classes in Spanish, Physical Education, Art, Drama, and Music (Library is integrated with Language Arts)
- Elective offerings that are student-driven and capture and speak to our kids’ interests. Electives can include photography, chess, film, knitting, soft sculpture, printmaking, acting and directing, digital imagery, rock climbing, musical theater, technical theater, and clay.
- A Socratic seminar that focuses on essential questions.
- Three, weeklong "Intersessions" to provide an intensive, integrated experience with experiential and service-learning or do-good components.
- An emphasis is placed on the development of organizational and time management skills.
- Overnight trips such as with AVID4 Adventure camping out, kayaking, rock climbing, going to Crow Canyon in Cortez, Colorado to study ancient Colorado civilization and archaeology and to Washington DC and Williamsburg to study civics.
- A Big Idea Lab that includes innovative learning opportunities such as 3-D Maker Lab, Robotics, Coding, Urban Farm, Hydroponic Gardening, Ukelele Building, Micro-Businesses, Directed Study, and more.
- Do Good initiatives on campus and in the greater community.
- A capstone project to demonstrate their mastery of the MSD mission and global skills at the conclusion of Eighth grade.
Please contact the admissions office or call 303-756-9441 with questions or to schedule a tour.